Expression of heterologous phytochromes A, B or C in transgenic tobacco plants alters vegetative development and flowering time

Plant J. 1997 Nov;12(5):1079-90. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1997.12051079.x.


In this study, oat phytochrome A (phyA), Arabidopsis phytochrome B (phyB) or Arabidopsis phytochrome C (phyC) were expressed in both day-neutral and photo-period-sensitive (short-day) tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv. Hicks). Introgression of the Maryland Mammoth (MM) gene into cv Hicks was used to confer short-day photo-periodic sensitivity. Expression of oat phyA led to characteristic hypersensitivity of hypocotyls to red light (R) and far-red light (FR) and an overall dwarfing of the mature plant. Expression of Arabidopsis phyB enhanced the sensitivity of hypocotyls to R and caused even more marked dwarfing of the mature plant. In contrast, the expression of Arabidopsis phyC had no detectable consequences for the photocontrol of hypocotyl elongation. However, phyC expression did lead to a R-dependent increase in cotyledon expansion in de-etiolating seedlings and to a significant increase in leaf area in mature plants. This provides the first experimental evidence that phyC is biologically active. The flowering time of cv Hicks plants grown under 8 h photoperiods was virtually unaffected by a 30 min white light (W) night break given 8 h into the dark period. In contrast, cv Hicks MM plants responded to a night break with a delay in flowering. Expression of phyA or phyB led to a night break-dependent delay in flowering in cv Hicks plants. For cv Hicks MM plants, the expression of any of phyA, phyB or phyC caused a marked enhancement of the flower-delaying effect of a night break. These observations indicate that transgenic phyA, phyB or phyC can interact with the endogenous mechanisms controlling flowering time in tobacco.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoproteins
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Genotype
  • Hypocotyl
  • Photoreceptor Cells*
  • Phytochrome / biosynthesis*
  • Phytochrome A
  • Phytochrome B
  • Plant Proteins
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Tobacco / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors*


  • Apoproteins
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • PHYA protein, Arabidopsis
  • PHYB protein, Arabidopsis
  • Phytochrome A
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • phytochrome C, Arabidopsis
  • Phytochrome
  • Phytochrome B